December 3, 2010 |
City Council on Thursday bowed to a state Supreme Court ruling by opening its regular session to public speakers for the first time since Philadelphia's modern government was born in 1951. It's not that Council had banished public speaking; it just had relegated public testimony to hearings on specific bills. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that this violated the 1993 state Sunshine Act and ordered Council to allow public comment at every one of its meetings. "I know my colleagues join me in welcoming those who wish to be heard in this new forum," Council President Anna C. Verna said, though she added that she and her colleagues "are proud of the record of this City Council in providing the public meaningful opportunities to comment on important issues before the Council.
October 28, 2011 |
A nearly unanimous City Council passed a new youth curfew Thursday after a long and raucous hearing dominated by often-heated testimony against the measure. The 15-1 vote sent a chamber full of opponents into chants of, "Shame! Shame!" As they filed out, they chanted, "We need schools, not the curfew. " The bill's sponsor, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, praised those who spoke out, but said many of their concerns had been addressed in a bill the city needed.
February 7, 2011
CITY COUNCIL passed a courageous resolution calling for no more drilling of the Marcellus shale until an Environmental Protection Agency study of hydrofracking's risk to water and air is completed, and a cumulative impact study specific to the Delaware watershed is completed. But the Daily News characterized Council's resolution as a "rude gesture" at the state legislature. Hydrofracking presents a risk to 15 million drawing their drinking water from the Delaware River basin. The technique, otherwise known as "high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling," is so new, so polluting and dangerous that other states, including New York and Arkansas, have statewide moratoriums on any new permits.
October 13, 2010 |
This city has an enormous challenge: Politicians charged with Philadelphia's stewardship must decide whether to cling tenaciously to the past, the status quo, or embrace change and move toward progress. Consider DROP, the Deferred Retirement Option Plan. I know, you'd rather not. I'd rather not. We would all rather the program go away along with all members of City Council who have signed up for this bloated perk. And there's the problem. The people who love DROP and will walk away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits are the very officials empowered to determine its fate.
October 27, 2003
Philadelphia's seven at-large Council members ought to play a pivotal role in rocking the city out of the status quo during the next four years. After all, they represent the interests of the whole city, rather than geographically based districts. This race deserves voter attention, but first, some clarification is helpful. Seven at-large seats are up for grabs. Voters, however, can choose only five from among 10 Democrats and Republicans. That way, two of the seven spots go to the minority party.
November 16, 2011 |
After more than eight years of trying and two of the most closely contested elections in Philadelphia history, Republican David Oh has won a seat on City Council. When he takes the job in January, Oh will become the first Asian American to serve on Council. "I think it's a point of pride for Asian Americans in Philadelphia," Oh said Tuesday. "At the end of the day, we're all Philadelphians, and it's important that we all come together to improve our city. " Oh declared victory for an at-large Republican spot on Philadelphia's 17-member legislative body over Al Taubenberger, who bounced back from a weak showing in the May primary to lose to Oh by just 171 votes.
June 18, 2010 |
Like any good TV drama, City Council concluded its 2009-10 season yesterday with a session that revisited key themes of the past year - like the ongoing city budget woes - while still teasing drama ahead, in the shape of new legislation on business taxes and row offices. So as Channel 64 gets ready to play reruns during Council's summer legislative break, here's a look at some of the highlights of the past nine months: Although often criticized for not being reform-minded, Council took on two major reforms this year, abolishing the embattled Board of Revision of Taxes and passing a package of ethics reforms.
January 2, 2012 |
When six members of Council with more than a century of experience give way to the next generation of leaders Monday, a pivotal chapter in Philadelphia's political history will close. The nearly departed have been, in many ways, the bridge from the bare-knuckled, barroom politics of yesteryear, when Philadelphia was a declining blue-collar city with an uncertain future. They leave in a new - but no less tough - era when politicians communicate via Twitter and Facebook, and the city is climbing its way to a rebirth through technology, the arts, and a thriving service economy.
June 29, 2010
WE DEFINITELY need term limits. Politicians get stale and feel like Tiger Woods - entitled to everything! And during a financial crisis like we are in now, we should be able to lay off City Council and their staffs. Council and their staffs should get minimum wage - they'll be working for the people, and with all the perks they get, they'll be just fine. Politicians argue that the salaries are needed to keep out corruption, but they get high salaries and are still corrupt. We need to stop voting for incumbents until they start serving us and not the special interests.
August 3, 2011 |
City Council has scheduled its first hearing to get public input on redrawing the city's councilmanic districts for Aug. 16 - about three weeks before the deadline to decide the new boundaries. The political watchdog group Committee of Seventy, meanwhile, accused Council on Tuesday of "reneging on its pledge" to have an open and transparent redistricting process that included meetings in the community. "Holding one public hearing in City Hall . . . essentially says to the public, 'We really don't care what you think,' " said Ellen Kaplan, the committee's vice president and policy director.